Only children who have reached the minimum school leaving age are allowed to work full-time. In England, this date falls at the end of the school year once they have turned 16.
In Wales, children can leave school on the last Friday in June, provided they will be turning 16 by the end of that school year’s summer holidays.
In Scotland, this date depends on when in the year the child is born. Children born between 1 March and 30 September can leave school after 31 May of that year. Children born between 1 October and the end of February can leave school at the start of the Christmas holidays in that school year.
Children between 16 and 18 can work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week. Once they reach 18, adult employment rights and rules apply.
In terms of part-time work, the minimum age is 13, unless the child is involved in performance work such as:
- film and television
- theatre and concerts
- sporting events
- other public performances with a paying audience or which take place on licensed premises